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Problems of 2 NZEF



Probably there is no element of welfare so potent as the prompt and frequent receipt of letters. The frequency was beyond our control; but promptness we could do something about. The members of the Postal Corps were from the first looked on by Headquarters as something more than merely skilled personnel handling mail. They were encouraged to develop an esprit de corps of their own, which is the reason they were formed into a special corps, instead of being just a collection of personnel from odd units. At the outset in 1940 the Chief Postmaster was told, in words that were not meant to be entirely jocular, that he was the only officer in 2 NZEF who could at all times have all the men he wanted; and this was repeated at intervals during the war. As the war went on we tried so to arrange it that we controlled the movement forward of our mails 100 per cent without having to call on the facilities provided by the British movement staff. In Italy, for instance, after trying the normal rail and sea movement forward from the base port (Bari or Taranto), we set up our own MT link and sent letters by that means right up to the Division. At a later stage we made special page 253 arrangements to fly all mail from Bari forward. It is probable that the men did not appreciate what had been done for them; but there should be little doubt that the speedy delivery of the mail had an unconscious influence on morale. There are few morale builders as good as a steady mail service from the homeland.